Three Fugitives marks the Hollywood helming debut of French director Francis Veber, remaking his own 1986 comedy Les fugitifs American-style. Clever premise starts pic off on a roll, as master bankrobber Lucas (Nick Nolte) gets out of the slammer determined to go straight, only to get involved in another heist in the very first bank he enters.
This time, he’s an innocent bystander taken hostage by a hysterically inept gunman (Martin Short). But who’s going to believe that?
Short, once he figures out Nolte’s predicament, blackmails him into aiding and abetting his escape from the country. To make things even stickier. Short’s got an emotionally withdrawn little girl (Sarah Rowland Doroff) who latches onto Nolte like a stray kitten.
As for the Nolte-Short pairing, it’ll do, but it’s no chemical marvel. Nolte, not really a comic natural, gruffs and grumbles his way through as hunky straight man to Short’s calamitous comedian. Short runs with the slapstick style.